Roxicet Withdrawal

Medical professionals recognize Roxicet withdrawal as the normal, predictable consequence of chronic Roxicet use.

Roxicet contains 5 mg of oxycodone and 500 mg of acetaminophen. Roxane Laboratories offers Roxicet in an oral solution or as tablets. Roxicet is for oral use only.

Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic pain reliever, sometimes called a narcotic. Pharmacologists create oxycodone from thebaine, which scientists extract from the opium poppy plant, Papaver somniferum.

Using Roxicet continuously for several weeks can result in physical dependency that causes uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when the individual stops using Roxicet. A doctor will diagnose someone as being opioid-dependent if the patient suffers withdrawal symptoms a few hours after his last dose of Roxicet.

Roxicet withdrawal produces flu-like symptoms that last for several days. Roxicet withdrawal is also associated with demoralizing and debilitating psychological symptoms that can interfere with recovery efforts.


The body adjusts to the presence of certain substances, including Roxicet, by adjusting itself to maintain a healthy chemical balance. Prolonged use makes some of these changes more permanent - the body begins to rely on a steady supply of Roxicet to feel "normal." If Roxicet levels fall, the body struggles to maintain its balance. Doctors refer to this as detoxification.

Detoxification causes Roxicet withdrawal: the individual feels the battle for chemical stability through a variety of predictable physical and psychological symptoms.

Missing a dose, taking an insufficient dose, or using certain medications initiates the detoxification process.

Using Roxicet for a long time may increase the consumer's tolerance to opioid drugs. High tolerance means the individual must take larger doses more frequently to relieve pain or cause euphoria. Someone with low tolerance is more sensitive to the effects of Roxicet.

Facts about Roxicet

Doctors prescribe Roxicet to relieve a patient's moderate to moderately severe pain. A recreational user likes Roxicet because of the way oxycodone gets him high.

Taking high doses of Roxicet, chronic use and non-medical use of Roxicet increases a person's risk for developing physical dependence on oxycodone. To use a drug non-medically means to use it to get high or to treat a condition other than the one the doctor intended to treat when she wrote the prescription for Roxicet.

Opioids, including the oxycodone in Roxicet, work with the central nervous system to relieve pain and cause euphoria. Oxycodone also works with smooth muscle groups, including those in the digestive tract to curb diarrhea. As a result, Roxicet withdrawal symptoms affect the nervous and digestive systems.

Non-medical use of Roxicet also increases the risk for side effects and toxic overdose. Roxicet acts directly on the breathing centers in the brain to alleviate a nagging cough; consequently, Roxicet may cause adverse respiratory effects or breathing problems in cases of overdose.

Potential for Abuse

Because of the euphoric feeling it provides, the oxycodone in Roxicet is associated with a high potential for abuse. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, ranks substances according to their relative potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs, including heroin and cocaine, pose the highest risk while schedule V drugs are associated with very little risk for abuse. The DEA classifies all products containing oxycodone, including Roxicet, as a schedule II drug; this means Roxicet poses the same potential for risk as OxyContin and raw opium. To reduce this risk, Roxicet is available only with a doctor's prescription.

Abuse and Addiction Rates

Roxicet withdrawal and other substance abuse problems are a serious problem in the United States, where abuse and addiction rates continue to rise. About 12 million people in the United States used a prescription opioid like Roxicet for non-medical reasons in 2010. Widespread abuse of opioids has caused an increase in the number of people addicted to prescription painkillers, eclipsing addiction rates to illicit substances. In 2010, about 1.9 million Americans were addicted to prescription painkillers, compared with 329,000 heroin addicts in that same year.

People in the United States gobble the majority of the world's painkillers. Even though Americans make up only about 5 percent of global population, people in this country consume 80 percent of the world's opioids. Americans also use about 99 percent of the global supply of oxycodone.

Facts about Withdrawal

Anyone can become opioid-dependent. Roxicet withdrawal symptoms do not necessarily indicate criminal activity - it is possible to become dependent on oxycodone while taking therapeutic doses of Roxicet as prescribed by a physician to treat a chronic condition.

Withdrawal symptoms often appear a few hours after the last dose and stick around for five or more days. Symptoms are often worse on or about the fourth day after the last dose. Left untreated, Roxicet withdrawal symptoms disappear in time and do not return.

A person can ease withdrawal symptoms or stop the detoxification process at any time. Medications can relieve withdrawal symptoms including anxiety, insomnia, diarrhea and muscle aches. Some drugs imitate the effects of oxycodone and stop withdrawal symptoms without resolving opioid dependence. Taking more Roxicet stops the detoxification process and ends withdrawal symptoms; relapse returns the individual to opioid dependence.


The physical and psychological symptoms associated with Roxicet withdrawal may interfere with recovery efforts. Physical symptoms are extremely uncomfortable and demoralizing. Psychological symptoms make the individual feel unworthy or incapable of recovery. Roxicet withdrawal symptoms can cause social isolation and time away from the activities of daily living, including work, childcare or spending time with loved ones. These symptoms are painful and discouraging, but usually not life threatening.

Withdrawal symptoms typically occur in two waves. Early symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Increased tearing
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Yawning

Late symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goose bumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Possible Complications

While the detoxification process is not typically life threatening, Roxicet withdrawal symptoms may cause dangerous complications. The individual may aspirate, which means he vomited and then inhaled the stomach contents. Aspiration can lead to fluid in the lungs and lung infections. Excessive and prolonged vomiting and diarrhea may cause dehydration.

The main complication associated with Roxicet withdrawal is returning to drug abuse. A person could relapse because withdrawal symptoms prevented him from completing the detoxification process, or he may start taking drugs again because he has not changed those behaviors that facilitate drug abuse. Without proper treatment, he may cycle between relapse and remission.

Treatment options

Chronic Roxicet use increases the risk for side effects, fatal overdose or infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and hepatitis B and C. Opioid dependence raises the risk for social isolation, criminal behavior, loss of income, homelessness, divorce and loss of child custody. Treatment reduces these risks and promotes healthy behaviors. Detoxification and rehabilitation saves and improves the lives of millions of Americans.

Treatment involves two phases: detoxification and rehabilitation. The detoxification process lowers oxycodone levels then deals with the ensuing Roxicet withdrawal symptoms. Rehabilitation helps the individual learn how to live without drugs.

In 2010, more than 23 million people in the United States needed treatment for substance abuse problems including Roxicet withdrawal. That year, only about 11 percent of those who needed treatment received it in a specialty facility staffed with professionals who have received advanced training in dealing with substance abuse. The vast majority of those needing treatment sought help from a general hospital or psychiatric unit, or tried to overcome opioid dependence by themselves.

Self Detoxification

Many people try to overcome Roxicet withdrawal symptoms alone, without the help of medicine to reduce the severity of symptoms or the guidance of a trained professional. This practice is known as self-detoxification or "going cold turkey." Cold turkey refers to the skin's appearance during the detoxification process: pale, cold, clammy with goose bumps, resembling a plucked turkey.

While self-detoxification is not usually life threatening, Roxicet withdrawal symptoms are extremely uncomfortable, prolonged and demoralizing. Without medicine to ease extended and overwhelming Roxicet withdrawal symptoms, self-detoxification is associated with a high risk for complications including aspiration, dehydration and relapse.

The Thomas Recipe

Some people try to reduce the intensity of the detoxification process by creating a homemade treatment plan including multiple medications to deal with the variety of Roxicet withdrawal symptoms. One such remedy is The Thomas Recipe, which calls for a benzodiazepine such as Valium, Librium, Ativan or Xanax to calm anxiety and help the patient sleep. Imodium curbs diarrhea while Vitamin B6 and supplements along with hot baths soothe muscle aches and restless leg syndrome. L-Tyrosine gives a burst of energy to overcome debilitating malaise.

While The Thomas Recipe eases Roxicet withdrawal symptoms somewhat, it does not shorten the detoxification process and it does little to reduce complications, including relapse potentially leading to overdose.


Returning to Roxicet abuse after any amount of detoxification increases the risk for overdose. Detoxification reduces the person's tolerance to oxycodone so that the individual can potentially overdose on a smaller amount of Roxicet than he used to take before experiencing even moderate withdrawal symptoms.

It is possible to overdose on either the oxycodone or the acetaminophen components of Roxicet. Roxicet overdose is a medical emergency that could result in serious injury or death. Nearly 15,000 people die every year in the United States from prescription painkiller overdose. Acetaminophen overdose is the leading cause of acute liver failure.

Transport any suspected cases of Roxicet overdose to the nearest medical facility or call for an ambulance, whichever results in faster care. Emergency department physicians will administer 0.4 mg to 2 mg of naloxone to reduce oxycodone to safe levels rapidly. Doctors may also administer the antidote to acetaminophen, N-acetylcysteine, as needed. Nurses will establish an airway to help the patient breathe and pump the patient's stomach or introduce charcoal to remove excess Roxicet. Nurses will monitor the patient's condition for complications and administer life saving care, including CPR, as necessary.

Drug Replacement Therapy

People who are not in immediate danger of Roxicet overdose may participate in DRT, or drug replacement therapy. DRT replaces Roxicet with drugs that mimic the effects of oxycodone but do not provide euphoria; this means the patient does not get high and will not experience Roxicet withdrawal symptoms. DRT medications include methadone, Suboxone and buprenorphine.

DRT allows participants to engage in therapy before attempting detoxification. Once the individual learns how to live without Roxicet, he weans himself from the DRT drug by taking smaller doses increasingly further apart.

Supporters of DRT say it allows people to continue working and taking care of family while engaging in rehabilitation. Opponents fear DRT is merely trading one addiction for another.

DRT is not without consequences. Methadone is involved in one-third of opioid pain reliever deaths, even though methadone accounts for only a small percent of opioid painkiller prescriptions.

Standard detox

Many health facilities now offer detoxification services to help individuals overcome Roxicet withdrawal. During inpatient detoxification, the doctor administers naloxone to drop oxycodone, plus medications to deal with the individual withdrawal symptoms. Nurses monitor the patient for complications.

While inpatient detoxification reduces the severity of Roxicet withdrawal, it does not shorten the duration. The patient must still endure several days of psychological symptoms and social isolation; these setbacks can make an individual feel unworthy or incapable of recovery. Someone who has experienced a difficult detoxification process may be more resistant to engaging in rehabilitation.

Rapid Detox

Rapid detox is the most humane form of detoxification currently available. During rapid detox, board-certified anesthesiologists administer sedatives and anesthesia along with the standard detoxification and anti-withdrawal drugs. The rapid detox patient dozes in a comfortable "twilight sleep," unaware of the grueling chemical battle of detoxification. When the patient awakens, she will be in a better mental state and more receptive to participating in further rehabilitation efforts.